Michael Bennett clarifies comments on social issues

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  • By Austin Knoblauch NFL.com
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Two days after saying NFL players weren't doing enough to bring awareness to social issues, Michael Bennett clarified his comments during an interview Monday with NFL Media columnist Michael Silver.

The Seattle Seahawks defensive end said his comments Saturday were aimed at starting a positive dialogue among NFL players about raising awareness to problems affecting their lives and communities. In addition, Bennett told Silver he hoped to someday be part of a summit comprised of athletes dedicated to addressing social problems. 

"All I want to do is get everybody on the same page," said Bennett in the interview, which will air Monday night on NFL Network's NFL Total Access. "To create something great where we all come together and be super positive -- and bring the NFL into it.

"Why shouldn't we have a say in what's happening?" Bennett asked. "Why can't we express our feelings in a positive way?"

On Saturday, Bennett criticized NFL players for remaining silent on social issues, saying many of the NFL's stars were not at the "forefront of trying to change what's going on." He named Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton as among those who were not as engaged in social issues as they should be. Bennett said he later called Newton to clarify what he was trying to say.

"I just wanted him to understand that it's not really about him ... I wanted him to understand that, you know, as a whole, how can we work together and have some continuity, believe in something and have one goal," Bennett said. "The way the media does things, it's me versus him, but that's not what it's about. It's about unity, about us coming together as brothers and find a way to unite and create something positive."

Bennett went on to say that star NFL players -- such as teammate Russell Wilson -- could have the greatest effect on spearheading social change via their large followings on social media.

"I think Russell is one of the key people in this whole evolution of this social media (age)," Bennett said. "He's at the top of his game and he's at the top of his celebrity. He does a lot of stuff for a lot of positive things."

In addition, Bennett said he reported to Seahawks training camp on time because he is confident his agent and the Seahawks will work out a new contract soon. Sources close to Bennett told Silver that they hope to work out a long-term deal for Bennett before the start of the season.

Bennett is currently the 27th-highest paid defensive lineman in the NFL.

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